So what will Internet Privacy be like Under Trump’s Presidency?
Consumers desire to control or influence the data and information about themselves without the involvement of any third parties in what researchers have termed as digital privacy. Advances in Information Technology have raised concerns regarding the privacy of individuals’ information on digital platforms. The amount of information an average American voluntarily discloses to third parties is immense, creating a debate as to whether this kind of information is private. However, most American citizens are equally divided on privacy issues especially after the June 2013 leaks by government contractor Edward Snowden about the CIA surveillance programs (online and phone communications).
How do Americans feel about Privacy at the moment?
In a survey conducted in 2014 over whether the leaks benefited or served public interests, 53% of Americans wanted Snowden prosecuted, 44% were against while 3% were not sure. In 2014, the Obama administration brought significant changes to the NSA’s surveillance programs, which were designed to minimize the amount and type of data collected by the agency. However, due to increased threats of terrorism, some Americans believe that the move will hamper the ability to fight terrorism. Therefore, digital privacy under the Trump administration is set for new measures. Trump is determined to enact a new set of rules that he believes will enhance the security of the New World. Cable and phone companies could earn extra privileges in knowing their customers’ online activities and the amount of privacy while doing it. This indicates an end to the stricter rules enacted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) during the Obama era. The rules focused protecting the privacy and individual choice regarding internet usage.
At this moment, Trump wants to deploy a new set of standards though it’s difficult to know what to expect considering his repugnance to policy issues and constant lapses during the campaign. However, his administration might retrograde the efforts made in enhancing digital privacy. The new standards have an effect on consumers and the entire industry. The proposed laws will result in higher cable and Internet bills because the firms will require immense resources to support their surveillance programs. This may lead to low-quality services and abridged service choices from the customer’s end. For example, the new standards will hurt the quality of videos watched on Netflix and YouTube via limited data on broadband networks leading to possible delays and stutters, in order to shift consumers to phone and cable companies, offering speedy videos at no data costs. A move that will possibly subvert the Obama administration’s “net neutrality” regulation that advocated for traffic equality on all networks irrespective of the media. The absence of neutrality will decant most popular services available on cable networks and phone companies, thus affecting consumers. Also, lack of neutrality will hamper the number of startups in the telecommunication sector. Startups will have difficulties delivering new videos to potential customers, and as a result, many will fail or grow tardily. On the other hand, established companies will have fertile grounds to push their agendas.
Shady Data Mining Practices used by Internet Service Providers
Internet Service Providers will also employ foxy tactics designed to change consumer behavior in order to create profitable opportunities. Such firms use data mining activities as one of the methods of monitoring and collecting customer browsing habits for lucrative advertisements. Consequently, consumers will in due course have fewer goods and services to choose from, which might even be expensive and arduous.
The Trump administration will fuel mergers, which is contrary to what he had promised during his campaigns. Trump was against large media mergers, for instance, the AT&T’s 85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner and had thought of breaking Comcast and NBC Universal. However, some analysts indicate that with the Republicans being in charge of the major regulatory agencies like the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), mergers will come easy for most companies. When these companies merge, they will reserve TV programs for their own subscribers. Besides, some companies such as AT&T may deny consumers certain programs unless they are their cellphone or internet customer. The public is also worried about Trump’s FCC’s possibility of policing media firms, which might limit freedom of the press or even worse, cause financial strain on the media industry. The FCC has the power to control the press by issuing new broadcast licenses designed to control coverage. Additionally, the body’s immense authority over policies, whether formal or informal, can possibly of set back the financial performance of the industry.